I learned about this book through Joshua Foer’s Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, which introduced me to the concept of using specific techniques to memorize any sort of information. Foer’s book was heavy on his experiences training for the U.S. Memory Championship and it was interesting, but I was also curious about more of the specifics behind the techniques and how they could perhaps be used in real life. Or, more specifically, in my attempts to memorize passages of scripture.
Which led me to this book, with its seeming claim to teach me how to memorize “almost anything.”
Vost does an excellent job of really explaining the method loci of memorization and giving great examples of how to use it. He walks you through establishing your memory rooms and creating memory “triggers” for virtually anything. His writing style is entertaining and clear. While the majority of his examples are Catholic-oriented, his methods are applicable to anyone. He includes notes for adult readers, as well as younger ones and homeschoolers (in other words, how to make it work for anyone, of almost any age).
I read the book hoping for help in memorizing passages, rather than lists. Turns out passages are harder and don’t lend themselves to the method loci as well as lists. Rats.
Despite it not completely helping me with what I wanted, I still really appreciated the great job the book did at detailing specific memorization methods that really are effective. Unless you are adamantly opposed to reading a book with Catholic examples, I think it’s an excellent resource for learning to memorize more efficiently and effectively.
“They laughed when I said I could name all 27 books of the New Testament …but after I named them all in order, plus the 46 books of the Old Testament, they begged me to show them how I did it.” Yes, I know that memorizing the Faith is no substitute for living a holy life, but even devout people can’t live by truths and precepts they don’t remember. That’s why, over 700 years ago, St. Thomas Aquinas perfected an easy method for his students to memorize most any information, but especially the truths taught by Christ and His Church. As the years passed, our need for this ancient art of memorization grew, yet somehow our culture largely forgot it . . . which is why today, when you and I try to remember a list of things, we have to repeat their names over and over. Or, to remember to call the dentist, we tie a string on our finger. And we clutch at any means whatsoever to recall our passwords for ATMs, credit cards, and voicemail, our login names for Yahoo, eBay, and Amazon, and the host of other names and numbers that clog our minds and clutter our days.
Now, thanks to the delightful pages of Memorize the Faith!, you can easily keep all these in mind – and learn the Faith! – by tapping into the power of the classical memory system that helped St. Thomas become the Church’s preeminent theologian, and made it easier for him to become one of its greatest saints. Here, Catholic scholar Kevin Vost makes available again Aquinas’s easy-to-learn method – the method Dr. Vost himself has used for decades to recall names, dates, phone numbers, the first dozen digits of pi (3.141592653589) and even whether, when his wife called him at work today, she asked him to bring home ice cream and toffee . . . or was it truffles and coffee? Indeed, Dr. Vost will teach you to remember virtually anything, but he devotes most of his book to showing you how to improve your memory of Catholic truths so you can live the Faith better. By the time you finish this book, you will have memorized dozens of key teachings of the Church, along with hundreds of precepts, traditions, theological terms, Scripture verses, and other elements of the Faith that every good Catholic needs to know by heart. Memory is the foundation of wisdom. It makes holiness easier. To grow wiser in the Faith . . . and holier . . . turn to Memorize the Faith! today.
Title:Memorize the Faith! (and Most Anything Else): Using the Methods of the Great Catholic Medieval Memory Masters
Author: Kevin Vost
Length: 250 pages
Format: Trade Paperback
Release Date: 2006
Publisher: Sophia Institute Press
ISBN: 1933184175 / 978-1933184173
My Rating: 4 Stars
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